Hampden Academy Students Take Hands-On Approach to Learning DNA Structure 

In high school classrooms across the country there are plenty of teens struggling to make sense out of complex subjects. It’s not easy for everyone to grasp the lessons in a textbook. We show you how some local students are learning, through a more hands-on approach. Biology class just isn’t for everyone. ” When I first learned it sophomore or junior year I picked up absolutely nothing,” said Michael Cote. Hampden Academy senior Michael Cote tried to figure out the science but it just wasn’t clicking. ” Even studying the books afterwards I ended up failing,” said Cote. Now, things are starting to make more sense. ” When you’ve actually got it in front of you, you can see what they’re talking about instead of having to take their word on it,” said Cote. Believe it or not, it’s LEGO blocks giving the lessons more impact. ” You’ve got couple groups of different colors. Yellow, green, red and blue, ” described Cote. It’s the brain child of a woman at MIT and educators say it’s making a difference. ” We can go from DNA structure to the message in messenger RNA and then actually build the proteins from the amino acids,” said Roger Phipps, an assistant professor at Husson University’s School of Pharmacy. ” The fact that you can take the molecule, the LEGOs, and fold them up the way that proteins fold up, it mimics it. It’s not exact, but you get the idea,” said Kai Ksyniak, an alternative education teacher at Hampden Academy. Students are getting a LEGO up on biology now thanks to this learning tool. ” You do it step by step so it’s easier to understand and pick up and retain it,” said Cote. Husson University’s School of Pharmacy is playing a big part in the training. ” When he comes over and helps you he’s pretty good at explaining how to do it without seeming like it’s supposed to be something that you pick up easy,” said Cote. For Cote, it’s making all the difference.” After doing this, you’re no longer going to hate Biology class,” said Cote. One LEGO at a time.